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Open Access Short Report

Erythropoetin receptor expression in the human diabetic retina

Shaival S Shah12, Stephen H Tsang23 and Vinit B Mahajan12*

Author Affiliations

1 Vitreoretinal Service, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, The University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, 200 Hawkins Drive, USA

2 Omics Laboratory, Iowa City, IA, USA

3 Bernard and Shirlee Brown Glaucoma Laboratory, Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, Department of Ophthalmology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA

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BMC Research Notes 2009, 2:234  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-2-234

Published: 25 November 2009



Recent evidence suggests erythropoietin (EPO) and the erythropoietin receptor (EPOR) may play a direct role in the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy. Better characterization of the EPO-EPOR signaling system in the ischemic retina may offer a new therapeutic modality for ischemic ophthalmic diseases. This study was performed to identify EPOR mRNA expression in the human diabetic eye.


EPOR antisense RNA probes were validated on human pancreas tissue. In the normal eye, EPOR was expressed in the retinal ganglion cell layer. Minimal expression was observed in the inner and outer nuclear layer. Under conditions of diabetic retinopathy, EPOR expression shifted to photoreceptor cells. Increased expression was also observed in the peripheral retina.


EPOR expression may be a biomarker or contribute to disease mechanisms in diabetic retinopathy.